Kindness and Cultural Editing

Myths are for grown up, fairy tales are for children. But sometimes nostalgic grown- ups long for their childhood and often find solace in fairy tales.

Scottish folklorist, Andrew Lang (1844-1912), set about collecting fairy tales from all over the world. He relied much on his wife, Leonora Alleyne, and a team of female editors. Mrs. Lang, feeling that some of the fairy tales collected would not be appreciated by an Anglo-Saxon mentality, took the liberty of “restyling” the stories to make them culturally more accommodating. One such story is “Kisa the Cat”.

Kisa was the daughter of the Queen’s smoke colored cat with cerulean blue eyes. And when the Queen had a daughter of her own, Ingibjorg,  Kisa became the best of friends with her. But one day Kisa disappeared and couldn’t be found.

The years past. One morning, while playing in the garden, Princess Ingibjorg saw Kisa and went towards her. But Kisa escaped back into the forest.

The next day Ingibjorg went to the forest looking for Kisa but, instead, encountered a giant who cut off her feet. Luckily Kisa came along and took the princess home to nurse her then snuck into the giant’s home to recover Ingibjorg’s severed feet. Now the princess could walk again. The Queen & King who were so grateful that they offered Kisa a reward. But all she wanted, she said, was the chance to sleep at the foot of Ingibjorg’s bed.

The next morning, the princess woke up to find not a cat lying next to her but another beautiful princess. It was Kisa who explained that she’d been placed under a spell by an evil fairy and couldn’t be freed from the spell until she’d done a kind deed.

I’m not really sure what the moral of the story is supposed to be—shouldn’t an act of kindness be spontaneous and not a kind of barter where you hope to get something in return?  

Like the fairy tales, it looks like the meaning of kindness has been edited, too.

-30-

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2 Responses to Kindness and Cultural Editing

  1. Yvonne says:

    Lovely fable; I had never heard of Kisa before. If I get another cat, you can guess what it will be named!

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